Although I’ve shared names with both Emma Thompson and Emma Watson, when I was growing up – before either became famous – the biggest joke that came out of my name was that my initials were E.T.
As a child of the 80s, I became accustomed to other children in the playground coming up to me and telling me to ‘phone home’.
In fact, I used to think my name was a bit boring. Every third child at my school was called Emma – and even my middle name of Louise was common.
It wasn’t until I got to 16 or 17 that people started responding to my name with ‘like the actress’, instead of impressions of an alien.
I’ve often joked about my name with my parents. My mum was a teacher and wanted to call me something that would be both easy to spell from a young age and wasn’t the same as any of her students.
It meant that my dad’s suggestion of Naomi was deemed too complicated and Emma would do the job.
Unfortunately, they didn’t predict Emma Thompson’s rise to fame with Much Ado About Nothing, Sense and Sensibility and An Education.
The same logic was put in place for naming my brother – Phillip Thompson. As children growing up in the north west, he received his fair share of comments about having the same name as the footballer Phil Thompson who played for Liverpool and England.
Some of my favourite stories about being called Emma Thompson come from when I had just started working as a buyer in the early 2000s when her performance as Karen in Love Actually made her a national treasure.
I would travel to New York and LA for business trips and I still remember the collective look of disappointment when airline staff would see me walking into the business lounge, rather than her.
I would never pretend to be the actress but I would put on my best posh British accent when booking restaurants and somehow they would always find space for me – even if moments before they said they were full.
Hotels have also upgraded me from my name alone, although this hasn’t happened in a while.
Although I’m still legally Emma Thompson, my friends and colleagues now know me as Emma Watson.
That’s because when my husband and I got married in 2011, we decided if we ever have kids (which we went on to do in 2014) they should have a surname that combined both of ours.
He was Watts and I was Thompson, which became Watson.
Funnily enough, it didn’t even cross my mind that this meant I now shared my name with a new famous person.
I had never seen the Harry Potter franchise and I chose my new surname just as Emma Watson was branching out and becoming a household name.
I’ve found that people still react more when they find out my name is Emma Thompson than they do to Emma Watson, but that could be to do with my age group.
Nowadays, I tend to only remember I share a name with the Little Women star when I am reminded by strangers. For me, Watson has taken on a new significance.
I run a children’s hat company called Little Hotdog Watson and last week I got a message from one of my regular customers to say she called her new baby Watson, inspired by the name.
While Emma Watson might have been a witch in Harry Potter, it’s this moment that made the name magical for me.
The biggest issue I’ve faced is that both my names are clearly quite popular and so it can be hard to stand out when people are searching for you online.
Although it does prove handy when you want to avoid giving out your details to new people, knowing they’ll never be able to find you on Facebook!
The question I’ve found that you receive regardless of the celebrity you share a name with is: ‘Ooh, do you know them?’
I always find it quite amusing that people think sharing a name would make me any more likely to have contact with them.
For anyone wondering – I haven’t. If I got a chance to speak to them, I wouldn’t be most excited to talk about my name, that’s for sure. They’re incredible women and I would love to chat about their activism for women’s rights and the climate – although I’m not sure how interested they’d be in speaking to me!
People will occasionally tell me: ‘I’ve met her and you’re nothing like her’, and I never know how to respond to that.
On the one hand, why would sharing a name with Thompson or Watson make me like them? On the other, it leaves me wondering whether what they’ve said is a good thing or a bad thing!
Overall, I think I’ve been really lucky in sharing names with two such strong and influential women.
You can visit Little Hotdog Watson here
Hello, My Name Is…
It’s not easy having the same name as someone, or something, famous.
In Metro.co.uk’s weekly Hello, My Name Is… series, we’ll hear the funny, surprising and frankly mundane stories of people whose parents really didn’t know what they were getting their children into.
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